Many gardeners believe they have moles in the garden when they really have voles. Massive land clearing for housing developments can drive the voles out of their natural habitat. Voles can also become well-established in old developments. Similar to moles, voles spend most of their life underground in a network of complicated tunnels.

Voles resemble moles and are about 4 to 5 inches long with a very short tail, 1/2 to 5/8 inches long. They are chestnut brown in color. They produce about 3 offspring at a time several times a year. The young are ready to mate in two months.

The major difference between moles and voles is their eating habits. Voles eat all kinds of roots, bulbs and tubers, including shrub and tree roots. Moles are primarily carnivorous and their diet is grubs, worms and other insects of all kinds. Voles are not likely to be noticed until plants begin dying and extensive damage has been done.

Use one or both of the following:

1. Repellents: This is the easiest and least hazardous way to deter moles. Spray the repellent throughout the area being damaged by moles and flush it into the soil by watering immediately after applications. Repeat as needed.

2. Vole Bloc can be placed in the soil to form a barrier around plant roots or bulbs. Vole Bloc is a natural, stone material and one application lasts indefinitely.

3. Locate the tunnels and cut an opening in the top. Place about 2 tablespoons of Mole Tox or any other rat poison bait into the tunnel. Do this every twenty feet or so along the tunnel.

4. Place 2 or 3 permanent bait stations in the flower garden area under attack. Place a wooden slab near the tunnel opening and put the poison bait under the slab.

5. Place mole traps over the active tunnels or to control voles, use mouse traps baited with peanut butter or raw bacon.